Chief Constable guilty of gross misconduct

1 October 2013

The disciplinary proceedings were instituted when information was revealed that Sean Price, the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police may have used 'undue influence' when a female civilian employee was appointed to a role within the force.  It is believed the woman involved was the daughter of the former chairman of the police authority Dave McLuckie. 

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) conducted an investigation into the claims following which Mr Price was suspended in August 2011.  Mr Price had been the Chief Constable of Cleveland Police since 2003, however the IPCC announced on the 5th October 2012 that as a result of the disciplinary finding he had been sacked, becoming the first police chief in 35 years to be dismissed.  The IPCC described his conduct as 'shameful'.

Cleveland Police Authority had recently announced that Mr Price's contract would not be renewed when it was due to expire in March 2013, however today's decision by the IPCC renders that decision irrelevant.

The last Chief Constable to be dismissed was back in 1977, but in recent years a number of Chief Constables have either resigned or retired as a result of pressure for them to do so, following criticism or allegations about their conduct.

In the particular case of Mr Price, the hearing found that he had asked a member of staff to enquire about a job for Mr McLuckie's daughter, but subsequently denied doing so when he was investigated by the IPCC and then directed the member of staff in question to lie about the matter.

Nicholas Long the Commissioner of the IPCC said that Mr Price had "failed the public ofCleveland.  Mr Price appeared to think his position as Chief Constable gave him power to order people to do as he wished.  He has attempted to intimidate and bully staff under his leadership and mislead an independent investigation". 

Stuart Drummond, the Chairman of the Cleveland Police Authority said "as a police officer and particularly as a Chief Constable Sean Price's behaviour and attitude over this matter was completely unacceptable and the sanction imposed is wholey appropriate.  His actions have seriously undermined his reputation and his credibility".

However, the disciplinary panel did not find proven the allegation that Mr Price had directed that a job be found for the woman in question and Cleveland Police Authority said the investigator found no evidence that the woman did anything "untoward or inappropriate".

Mr Price has said that he believes the conclusion reached by the disciplinary panel was 'incorrect' and that he will be discussing matters with his lawyers.

Mr Price is also currently on bail as part of Operation Sacristy a criminal investigation into corruption relating to individuals with past and present connections with Cleveland Police Authority.  He was one of a number arrested as part of this investigation, which has also included Deputy Chief Constable Derek Bonnard.  The investigation began in April 2011 and has led to the government having to foot the bill for the police authority's probe into alleged fraud and corruption, the cost of which will be considerably in excess of £1,000,000.  Mr Bonnard has been suspended from duty and both he and Mr Price have denied any wrong doing.